The Seventies are hot, as is downtown L.A. So Marie Mazelis and Halston might just be in the catbird seat as the brand that came to define a decade aims to resonate with a new generation of Halstonettes. After stints at Hervé Leger and BCBG Max Azria, Mazelis came to Halston as part of an overhaul that refashioned the executive team along with a move downtown. Fast-forward five years and the brand is on firmer footing, with a fall 2016 collection that, as Mazelis describes it, embodies the idea of “being broken and putting things back together.”
This story first appeared in the April 27, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Let’s talk about Halston’s evolution. What’s changed since your arrival?
Halston was one of the great American designers and we really inherited such an amazing brand DNA and such history. It’s minimal yet extravagant. That duality is something I’ve always found very intriguing. As far as evolution, we’ve really just tried to adapt that aesthetic for a modern woman and to fit her current lifestyle. Obviously, it’s changed a lot since the Seventies. Women lead such full lives now.
Would you say fall is a full expression of the brand’s evolution or is there still more work to do?
We’re pretty excited about fall and where we’re going, but I’d say fashion’s always evolving and I think brands are always evolving…and we’ll continue moving forward from there.
When you think about the brand’s evolution up to this point, turning now to the Millennial customer and everything happening on the digital front with social media and bloggers, how does that impact your job?
I think the more voices, the better. Fashion should be about fun and excitement and the exchange of ideas. The most amazing thing about bloggers is they are real people and they wear clothes in a very personalized way. They mix brands in their own way and they’re able to share that and it resonates with Millennials and other customers. That exchange of ideas,
I welcome that.
What about the buy-now-wear-now conversation,in the context of your role at the company?
I think see-now-buy-now is just a natural progression of where things are going and very much in keeping with the times. Over the past decade, it’s definitely moved toward wanting immediate gratification in everything we do. With that said, I do think it has its own challenges and there’s the whole buying and manufacturing piece to be considered. We’re going to have to figure it out. That’s the biggest challenge.
Might we see the full digitization of the fashion show and buying process in the very near future?
I’m really fascinated by the whole digital side of things. I have two little kids who live in “Minecraft” basically. I barely see them and they value their “Minecraft” possessions as much as they do their real toys. It’s a new generation but I do feel like we’re moving toward more of a mixed reality world and fashion is going to have to find its way, its place in the world. And who knows? Maybe that will be the real see-now-buy-now experience down the line, but absolutely I do see it going there and I think it’s exciting to watch.